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Gunbattle kills 7 Indian Soldiers and 3 Militants at Nargota Army Camp in Jammu and Kashmir

There has been growing anger in India over terror attacks that have targeted installations of the armed forces in recent months

Indian soldiers are seen outside an army camp at Nagrota, in the outskirts of Jammu, Nov. 29, 2016. VOA

New Delhi, November 29, 2016: Seven Indian soldiers and three attackers were killed when armed militants stormed an army base in the northern Jammu and Kashmir state early Tuesday.

The latest incident is likely to further heighten tensions between India and Pakistan, whose ties hit a low point following a September attack on an Indian army camp in the disputed Kashmir region.

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The soldiers and militants were killed in a gunbattle that raged for hours after the assailants lobbed grenades and opened fire while trying to enter the Nagrota base, a major army camp that is one of the four command centers in Kashmir.

Nagrota lies about 20 kilometers from Jammu on the main highway that connects the city with Srinagar. Jammu and Srinagar are Kashmir’s two main cities.

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Authorities said the militants took hostages, including two women and children, when they entered the building used by families of the army officers. They said three of the seven soldiers were killed in a rescue operation.

Defense Ministry spokesman Manish Mehta said, “Early morning the encounter took place. The situation is under control.”

The militants apparently managed to take positions inside the complex near an artillery unit.

No group has claimed responsibility.

An Indian soldier takes position outside an army camp at Nagrota, in the outskirts of Jammu, Nov. 29, 2016. VOA
An Indian soldier takes position outside an army camp at Nagrota, in the outskirts of Jammu, Nov. 29, 2016. VOA

A separate firefight also took place when Indian forces said they killed three militants trying to cross into India from Pakistan.

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There has been growing anger in India over terror attacks that have targeted installations of the armed forces in recent months.

India accuses Pakistan of supporting and financing the terrorists who mount the assaults, a charge Islamabad has strongly denied.

Nirmal Singh, the deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, called the latest attack a signal of Pakistan’s frustration. “India is not a weak country. It will not be weakened and we will answer them in whatever language they understand,” he said.

The attack on the army camp comes after a five-day lull in intense cross-border firing along the Kashmir ‘Line of Control’ raised hopes that the two sides were trying to lower tensions.

Indian soldiers are seen outside an army camp at Nagrota, in the outskirts of Jammu.

The Kashmir border has seen heavy artillery and mortar firing since the Indian army said it mounted surgical strikes in Pakistan to take out militant camps after an attack on an army base in Uri that killed 20 soldiers.

Divided between the two countries, the Himalayan region of Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both.

Diplomatic relations have also turned frosty, with both countries mounting charges of spying on diplomats and expelling them.

Sartaj Aziz, the foreign affairs adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister, is due to visit India next week for an Asian regional conference, but political observers say there are no signals that the two sides will use the opportunity to start a dialogue to lower tensions.

So far, no bilateral talks have been scheduled, according to Indian Foreign Ministry officials.

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“Our position has been very, very clear. We are for a dialogue with Pakistan, but talks and terror cannot go together. It is incumbent upon Pakistan to create the necessary environment for a conducive bilateral dialogue to happen,” the Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Vikas Swarup, told reporters recently. (VOA)

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Government Appoints New Envoy to Kashmir

Kashmiri protesters
Kashmiri protesters run for cover as police use tear smoke to disperse protesters during a clash in Srinagar,Jammu and Kashmir. VOA

New Delhi, October 24: The center has appointed a new envoy to Kashmir in the hope of promoting peace in the troubled region.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh says former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma has been designated to open talks with Kashmir’s various factions – the first such appointment by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“As a representative of the government of India, … Sharma will initiate a sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of the people of Kashmir,” Singh said in New Delhi.

Kashmir has been the center of a deadly tug-of-war between India and neighboring Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. The Muslim-majority Himalayan territory is divided between the nuclear-armed rivals, but both claim Kashmir in full.

Kashmir rebels have battled Indian forces for decades, demanding either independence or a merger with Pakistan. The rebels have staged a series of attacks on Indian security bases in recent months, including an attack in southern Kashmir in August that left eight security officials dead.(VOA)

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Indo-Pak Peace Talks Futile Unless Islamabad Sheds Links with Terrorism, says Study

A Study by a U.S. think tank calls India and Pakistan talks futile, until Pakistan changes its approach.

India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.

A Top United States of America (U.S.) think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace called the relations between India and Pakistan futile, unless Islamabad changes its approach and sheds its links with Jihadi terrorism.

A report “Are India and Pakistan Peace Talks Worth a Damn”, authored by Ashley J Tellis stated that such a move supported by foreign countries would be counterproductive and misguided.

The report suggests that International community’s call for the India and Pakistan talks don’t recognize that the tension between the two countries is not actually due to the sharp differences between them, but due to the long rooted ideological, territorial and power-political hatred. The report states that these antagonisms are fueled by Pakistani army’s desire to subvert India’s powerful global position.

Tellis writes that Pakistan’s hatred is driven by its aim to be considered and treated equal to India, despite the vast differences in their achievements and capabilities.

Also ReadMilitant Groups in Pakistan Emerge as Political Parties : Can Violent Extremism and Politics Co-exist? 

New Delhi, however, has kept their stance clear and mentioned that India and Pakistan talks cannot be conducted, until, the latter stops supporting terrorism, and the people conducting destructive activities in India.

The report further suggests that Pakistan sees India as a genuine threat and continuously uses Jihadi terrorism as a source to weaken India. The report extends its support to India’s position and asks other international powers, including the U.S., to extend their support to New Delhi.

Earlier in September, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slammed Pakistan for its continuous terror activities. She attacked the country by saying that India has produced engineers, doctors, and scholars; Pakistan has produced terrorists.

Sushma Swaraj further said that when India is being recognised in the world for its IT and achievements in the space, Pakistan is producing Terrorist Organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba. She said that Pakistan is the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.

-by Megha Acharya  of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya. 

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Srinagar: Restrictions on Muharram Processions to Avoid Separatist Violence

Restrictions imposed in Srinagar ahead of Muharram protests.
Restrictions imposed in Srinagar ahead of Muharram protests. ians

Srinagar, Sep 29: Authorities imposed restrictions on Muharram processions in parts of Srinagar on Friday, to prevent any violence in the valley. Starting from the Guru Bazar locality, the Shia procession would end at the Dalgate area.

After separatist violence started in Kashmir, authorities have not allowed the procession since 1990.

Police and paramilitary, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in full riot gear were deployed in the suspected areas to put restrictions on Muharram processions.The pedestrian and vehicular movement was also suspended.

Life in other areas of Srinagar and elsewhere in the Kashmir Valley, however, remained normal. (IANS)